Golden Gate Hall, Thursday afternoon, 22 January 1903

Do we continue our individuality of the soul?

Well, as to that, you know the answer will depend upon the meaning of the word”soul.”The soul, taken in the sense of the Atman, was never born and it never dies. There is no death or birth, therefore, no possibility of continuity. If you understand”soul”as the transmigrating body, the subtle body, then there is a continuity of life.

Yajnavalkya had two wives, Maitreyi and Katyayani. He was a very rich man; he was the preceptor of one of the richest princes of India. At that time he wanted to divide his property between the two wives, and retire to the forest. Maitreyi declined to accept her portion, saying if this led to immortality, her husband would not give it up.

You see that in the heart of Maitreyi the idea arose how it was that her beloved husband, one (of the richest men in all India, was going to give up all this wealth and adopt another kind of life. Surely no one ever leaves one kind of life for another unless there is more joy, more pleasure in the new life than in the old one. This showed that for her husband the kind of life he wanted to adopt was more pleasant and enjoyable than the kind of life he then lived. She reflected and asked her husband,”Is there more joy in spiritual wealth than in worldly wealth, or is it otherwise?”

Yajnavalkya replied,”The life of rich people is what it is, but in such life there is no real joy, no real happiness, no true freedom.”Then Maitreyi said,”What is it the possession of which makes you altogether free, which makes you free from worldly greed and avarice? Explain to me this nectar of life, I want it.”

All his wealth and property were made over to Katyayani, and this wife, Maitreyi, got all his spiritual wealth. What was that spiritual wealth?

Na vaa are patyuh kaamaaya patih priyo bhavati
Aatmanastu kaamaaya patih priyo bhavati.
Na vaa are jaayaayai kaamaaya jaayaa priya bhavati
Aatmanastu kaamaaya jaayaa priyaa bhavati.

Brahadaranyaka Upanishad

This passage has many meanings. Max Muller translates it one way and many Hindus another way. Both the translations are right.

According to one interpretation,”The cause of the husband being dear is not that he has some good attributes, or that there is anything particularly lovely in him but he is dear because he serves as a mirror to the lady. As we see our own selves reflected in the mirror, so the wife sees her own self in the mirror of her husband, and that is why she loves her husband, and that is why her husband is dear.”

The other meaning is that”The wife does not love the husband for the husband’s sake, but she ought to see the true Reality, God, the true Divinity in the husband.”

You know that if Love is not reciprocated, then nobody loves. This shows that we love only ourselves as reflected in others. We want to see our true Self, the God within, and we never love anything for its own sake.

Here is an idea. Examine it, scrutinize it, and it will be that it is the true Self, which is the cause of things being dear. All the sweetness is in the true Self within you; do not make a wrong use of those feelings. Let not the ladder which was intended to raise you become the cause of your fall or descent into misery and ignorance. Examine this matter and you will see where the true sweetness, the real joy, the real happiness lie. You will see that it is only in your own Self, the true Atman, God. See that and be free! Know that an! Rise above all wordly desires. Lift yourself, raise yourself above all these low, petty desires. Become one with Divinity.

Na vaa are putranaam kaamaaya putraa priyaa bhavanti
Aatmanastu kaamaaya putraa priyaa bhavanti.

Brahadaranyaka Upnnishad

“Verily, not for the son’s sake, the sons are dear, but for the sake of the Self (Atman) the sons are dear.”

“Sons are dear for the sake of the true Self, the true Atman.”When your sons turn against you, you are troubled, you turn them out, you send them away from you. O, then you see for whose sake the sons were dear.

For instance, you require some clothes for your son. You are very fond of the clothes, but they are not dear to you for their own sake but for the son’s sake. The son is dearer than the clothes. Here we see that the son is held dear for his own true Self, the Atman. The Atman, the true Self, must contain more happiness, more Bliss than the son.

Na vaa are vittasya kaamaaya vittam priyam bhavati
Aatmanastu kaamaaya vittam priyam bhavati.

Brahadaranyaka Upnnishad

“Verily, not for the sake of property is property dear, but for the sake of the Self is property dear.”

You pray to this God, and to that God, and say,”O God, Thou art so sublime, Thou art so lovely, Thou art so kind and loving, Thou dost everything,”and so on. Why do you do this? Because God looks after your wants, because God serves your Self, the real true Self in you. God is dear for the sake of the true Self, and not for His own sake. Mark this. The true Self is the source of all happiness, bliss. Realize that and know that.

In an Indian puppet-show, there is a man who sits behind the curtain and keeps in his hand a number of fine wires which are connected with the gross bodies of the puppets. People, who come to see the puppet show, do not see the fine wires, nor do they see the man behind the curtain who pulls them. Similarly, in this world, all these gross bodies are like the gross puppets. Ordinary people look upon these gross bodies as real doers, as free workers and agents, and explain things from the apparent personal relative self. They look upon the body as the free agent; and if their friends or relatives do things to serve them well, then they are pleaded. But if the friends or relatives do things otherwise, then, on the contrary, displeasure, hatred, discord and disappointment ensue and instead of loving the friends or relatives you hate them. This is one class of people. There is another class, a higher class, which makes much of the thread, the fine wire. These people are more intelligent, more philosophical, more spiritual; these people attribute all the importance to the fine thread, to the fine wire. They look upon the true cause as disembodied free matter or spirit, spirit of another world, and not spirit as identical with the Atman, but as identical with the subtle body.

These people are right so far as they go. They see a cause and an effect. They see the fine wire and the effect upon the gross body; but we see that, in relation to the man, the power, the reality or being behind the curtain, the real power drawing these fine threads or wires, in fact all forms of feeling, energy are controlled by that indescribable force, the Atman, which is not limited by cause, space, or time. That is the real Immortality, the real happiness, bliss. That is everything. That is the Atman.

All these disturbances show that all these worldly relations and connections of the people are, as it were, lessons to mankind; they are a kind of training for the people. The next large stage to which your worldly relations and connections lure you, is the realization of the true Self, which is the Wire-puller, the Being behind the scenes. These disturbances show you that you must realize yourself, you must feel the reality of the true Self, which is behind all, which governs and controls the mind as well as the body of man. The minds as well as the bodies of the people are under the control of this supreme Power, this real Love, this sublime Truth.

Thus it is to be seen and understood that when you perceive a friend, you perceive the true Self behind. When you hear him talk, the hearing is controlled by the true Self behind. When you mark the force of a friend, you mark the Divinity behind. When you become alive to this power, then you are not deceived, you are not troubled, you are not disturbed.

Just as people look at the gross puppets, they know that the true Self is the power behind it all.

Look at the power behind the actions of people. Realize that, and know that you are the same. Know that with the same intensity with which you know form and colour.

Brahma tam paraadaad, yonyatratmano brahma veda
Kshatram tam paraadaad, yonyatratmano kshatram veda
Lokaastam paraadaad, yonyatratmano lookaan veda
Devaastam paraadaad, yonyatratmano devaan veda
Bhutani tam paraadaad, yonyatratmano bhutaani veda
Sarvam tam paraadaad, yonyatratmano sarvam veda
Idam brahma, idam kshatram, ime lokaah, ime devaah
Imaani bhutani, idam sarvam, yadayamaatmaa.

Brahadaranyaka Upanishad

‘Whosoever looked for the Brahman-class elsewhere than in the Self, was abandoned by the Brahman-class. Whosoever looked for the Kshatra-class elsewhere than in the Self, was abandoned by the Kshatra-class. Whosoever looked for the worlds elsewhere than in the Self, was abandoned by the worlds. Whosoever looked for the Devas elsewhere than in the Self, was abandoned by the Devas. Whosoever looked for the creatures elsewhere than in the Self, was abandoned by the creatures. Whosoever looked for anything elsewhere than in the Self, was abandoned by everything. This Brahman-class, this Kshatra class, these worlds, these Devas, these creatures, this everything, all is that Self’

Here is Divinity explained in clear and lucid language.

Let it sink into your heart, and you will realize that you are free; you will regain your birthright.

“This Brahman class, the Vedas, all is that Self”.

Here is the Divine Law. If you begin to depend or rely upon a material object for its own sake, the Law and the Vedas say that you must be foiled. You must be above all the objects of your desire. This is the Law. When you appear before a great person, a mighty ruler, and you begin to depend and rely upon his body or his personality, the Veda says that you are then leaning against a very frail reed and you will fall.

You commit a sin, for you make more of his body than of his true Reality or Divinity. You set up false forms or rings instead of the real ones. You are giving the lie to the Divinity within, to the Reality within. You are committing idolatry, you are worshipping the form of the body, your worship is the worship of the image, and not that of Divinity or God, and the consequence is you must suffer privation and pain. This is the Law. The Vedas say that when you go about your worldly business, look for the Atman, the Divinity within. Worldly business with people ought to be regarded as of secondary importance; it should be looked upon as a more dream, and not of the same importance as the underlying truth, the Reality. Keel that the Reality is more than the personality. The picture of a friend is valued or loved, not because of itself but because of the friend. The friend is dearer than the picture. In connection with the objects, the Reality should be perceived more than the object itself. Then worldly relations and worldly business will go on softly, smoothly, unruffled; otherwise there will be friction, worry, trouble. That is the Law.

We shall here relate a story:—

There was once a crazy woman living in a small village. She had a cock with her. The people of the village used to tease her, and called her names and caused her much annoyance and trouble. She said to the people of the village living near her,”You tease me, you worry and bother me so much. Now, look here, I’ll wreak vengeance on you.”At first the people paid no heed to her. She cried,”Beware, O villagers. Beware! I shall be very hard on you.”They asked her what she was going to do, and she said,”I will not allow the sun to rise in this village”. They asked her how she would do that, and she replied,”The sun rises when my cock crows. If you go on troubling me, I shall take my cock to another village and then the sun will not rise on this village.”

It is true that, when the cock crew, the sun rose, but the crowing of the cock was not the cause of the sun rising, O no. Well, she left the village and went to another; she was very much troubled. The cock crew in the village where she went and the sun rose on that village; but it also rose on the village which had been forsaken by her. Similarly, the crowing of the cock is the craving and yearning nature of your desires. Your desires are like the crowing of the cock and the coming up of the objects of desires before you is like the rising of the sun. The cravings and yearnings for the objects of desire are brought about, governed, controlled, and ruled by the One Sun of the Infinite or the Self. It is the true Self, the governing Sun, which is bringing about morning or evening, day or night. All worldly affairs are governed and controlled by this true Self, Infinity. It penetrates the senses. The wire puller is controlled by that Sun of suns, that Light of lights. Remember that.

People usually attribute all this to the little craving, hungering, selfish self. Do not make that mistake, please be free from it. Just examine. It is the same sun that adorns the morn, and that penetrates the eyes of the cock, and opens its throat and causes it to crow. But the crowing of the cock and the bringing about of the morn are really controlled or brought about by the genial heat and the power of the sun. See, these living objects on the one hand, and your own thoughts on the other hand, all are governed, controlled, and penetrated by that Sun of suns, that Light of lights, the Real Self, the Atman, the true Self. Know that and be free. Do not make false attributes; do not make wrong interpretations; do not look upon objects as real by themselves. It is only false belief when we look upon objects by themselves as real causes of pain and sorrow. Know that, realize that, and look upon all things as a big joke, a grand theatrical performance. One may play the part of Cleopatra or Macbeth, but he is not in reality a suicide, or a homicide. He is not a king or queen; he is but the actor; and he is such and such a gentleman. Similarly, you may do things, but forget not that your true Self is the supreme Divinity. Know that the”I am”is unchangeable, that it is all bliss, all happiness. Forget that not; feel that and be free.

Sa yathaa dundhubhirhanyamaanasya baahya sabdaasaknuyaat grahanaya, dundubhistu grahanina dundubhyaaghaatasya vaa sabdo grahitah.

Brihadaaranyaka Upunisliad

“Now as the sounds of a drum, when beaten, cannot be seized externally (by themselves), but the sound is seized when the drum is seized or the beater of the drum.”

All worldly objects of desire are caught when he to whom they owe their existence arid from whom they proceed is caught.

Sa yathaa sankhasya dhyayamaanasya baahya sabdaasaknuyaat grahanaya, sankhasya tu grahanina sankhadhamasya vaa sabdo grahitah.

Brihadaaranyaka Upunisliad

“As the sounds of a conch shell, when blown, cannot be seized externally (by themselves) but sound is seized when the shell is seized or the blower of the shell.”

He who is one with Brahman has all his desires fulfilled. Nobody will ever deceive him. No pain or trouble will ever come to him.

Quotation from Brahadaaranyaka Upanishad

“As all waters find their centre in the sea, all touches in the skin, all tastes in the tongue, all smells in the nose, all colours in the eye, all sounds in the ear, all percepts in the mind, all knowledge in the heart, all actions in the hands, all movements in the feet, and all the Vedas in speech.”

So, all the world and all the objects in the world find their centre in the Self, the true At man. All sounds find their centre in the Self or Atman. All colours have their centre in the tame. All sounds colours, tastes, acting through the senses, find their centre in the one Atman or Self. From this everything proceeds.

Quotation from Brahadaaranyaka Upanishad

“As a lump of salt, when thrown into water, is dissolved in it, and could not be taken out again, but wherever we taste (the water) it is salt—thus verily, O Maitreyi, does this great Being, endless, unlimited, consisting of nothing but knowledge, rise out of these elements, and vanish again in them. When He has departed, there is no more knowledge (name), I say, O Maitreyi.”Thus spoke Yajnavalkya.

Man having realized out these truths, becomes one with It, he depends no more upon name and form.

Sahovaacha Maitreyi, ……………………

Then Maitreyi said: ‘Here thou hast bewildered me, Sir, when thou sayest that having departed, there is no more knowledge.’

Doubt arose in Maitreyi’s mind that if this Self brought every privation, if it was the cause of suffering and sorrow, and every disturbance; that if our mind was nothing, if our personality was lost, we then must be completely annihilated. She says,”I don’t want annihilation. What is this Self of yours which is annihilation, death, extinction? I don’t want it. If I have to lose everything, I don’t want it.”

Quotation from Brahadaaranyaka Upanishad

But Yajnavalkya replied,”O Maitreyi, I say nothing that is bewildering. This is enough, O beloved, for wisdom.

‘For when there is as it were duality, then one sees the other, one smells the other, one hears the other, one salutes the other, one perceives the other, one knows the other; but when the Self only is all this, how should he smell another, how should he see another, how should he hear another, how should he salute another, how should he perceive another, how should he know another? How should he know Him by whom he knows all this? How, O beloved, should he know (himself), the Knower?’

Not hearing may be due to two causes. One cause may be that one is deaf and dumb, and the other cause may be due to there being no sound outside yourself. Not seeing is due to two causes. ]n one case you are blind, and in the other case there is nothing besides you that you are to see. Not smelling is due to two causes; one is that you have not the sense of smell, another is that there is nothing outside yourself to be smelt. So here the objections raised by Maitreyi that if by the Real, the true Self, we have to hear, to see, to smell, to taste, must we not virtually be deaf and dumb or blind? This objection is answered by saying that this is not on account of seeing within the Self of Reality, but because there is nothing besides the Infinite Self, which you are to see. It is not on account of the loss of hearing that you hear nothing; it is because there is nothing to hear. There is no duality, no limitation. There are no objects which you have to perceive; it is not because the power of thought is gone that you think nothing, but because there is no other object than the Atman. Again, it is shown that there being only the Infinite Self, that Infinite Self is the cause of the ear hearing, the nose smelling. It is all on account of the power of the Self. The eyes see because of the glory and inn infestation of the Self. All senses owe their existence to the One Infinite Self.

When the mind rises into that Infinite state, into that indescribable world, it cannot realize; for there thought cannot penetrate. How is thought to penetrate that which governs it?

Suppose we have a pair of tongs. These tongs are controlled by your fingers. Your fingers have a firm grip on the pair of tongs, and by this pair of tongs you can catch hold of am thing you like; but the pair of tongs has not the power of turning back and catching hold of your fingers, which hold and guide the tongs.

Similarly, your consciousness or intellect, your mind or brain is like a pair of tongs, but this is a strange pair. Usually tongs have two legs, but this pair of tongs has three grips or three legs. One is the grip of the why, the second is the grip of the when, and the third is the grip of the where, or causation, time, and space.